Young Josh: “I wish I were big.”
In the 1988 movie, “Big,” Tom Hanks plays a 13 year-old boy, Josh Baskin, who goes to a fortune-telling machine called Zoltar Speaks and wishes that he were “big.” The next day, He wakes up as a 30 year-old man; he looks big, but is still the naïve teenager inside.
Most growing companies are like Josh Baskin. They wish they were big too so they can get all the spoils of growth, prosperity and abundance the big companies have; just not with the bureaucracy and politics. When resources are tight (as in all small companies,) projecting size and acting big is achieved not by adding people first, but through implementing technology and process. People will follow.
I once led a team of 10 Field Managers who supported 65 customer locations with 150 remote systems across the US. Each manager was in charge of implementing, training and servicing customers. We were a high-performing, cross-trained team that looked like Tom Hanks but possessed Josh Baskin inside. How did we act “big?” By leveraging free technologies and built support systems with partners to blanket our customer base and provide exceptional service. Tools and processes that companies of any size can use to run fast, be nimble and maximize resources.
Remote Connectivity applications (i.e. GoToMyPC) to create a scalable “hub & spoke” infrastructure allowing every manager instant access to each system in seconds.
Instant Chat software (i.e. Gmail Chat) to quickly communicate between each other; problem solve and identify immediate ownership for the issue.
Web-base Call Forwarding and 3rd Party Answering Services to provide 24 hr. Tier I support for all customers. We combined these with processes for scheduling, prioritization and accountability which powered us to resolve customer issues quickly.
Select Partners to extend our reach when we could not physically be onsite in less than 24 hrs. Not all problems were software based; sometimes hardware repair or replacement was required. Working with trusted partners allowed us be “onsite” when we were unable to be there.
The sum of the parts was greater than each individually and the results proved so. We won the award for Best Customer Service in our field of specialty by a Consumer Reports-like organization that serviced our industry. The big companies we competed against were large and slow. We were lean and fast; but to our customers, we were “big.” They just did not know that Josh Baskin was inside.